Thursday, March 23, 2023

One-Sheet Collections: Best Active NBA Stars Who Have Never Been All-Stars

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The One-Sheet Collections idea is a simple concept with infinite possibilities. Take a single nine-pocket sheet and a reasonable $100 budget, and build a nine-card collection with a unifying theme.

This week my focus was on the best active players who have never made an All-Star Game appearance.

In order to narrow the list, I sorted players by the career Win Shares to find out who has contributed the most cumulative value over the course of his career without ever being honored with a spot in the All-Star Game.

2009-10 Playoff National Treasures Century Signatures #189 Serge Ibaka ($15)

Career Win Shares: 73.0

The Sonics selected Ibaka with the No. 24 overall pick in the 2008 draft, the same year they selected Russell Westbrook at No. 4 overall and a year after they took Kevin Durant with the No. 2 selection. The 6’10” forward quickly developed into a dominant rim protector, leading the NBA in blocks for four straight seasons starting with the 2010-11 campaign. He is a three-time All-Defensive Team selection and won a ring with the Raptors in 2019.

Most of his rookie-year cards are affordable, including the top-end autographed options. His 2009-10 Playoff National Treasures auto is numbered to 99 and still only has a modest book value of $15.

Buy on:

2012-13 Panini Marquee #398 Jonas Valanciunas RC ($8)

Career Win Shares: 71.7

Valanciunas is one of only 17 active players with at least 300 career double-doubles. He has averaged at least 10 points and 10 rebounds in each of the last three full seasons. The No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 draft had his best all-around season last year when he averaged 17.8 points, 11.4 rebounds and 2.6 assists as the Pelicans starting center.

Valanciunas has 21 different Rookie Cards and his 2012-13 Panini Marquee rookie is the most valuable of his non-autographed options.

Buy on:

2007-08 Finest #80 Thaddeus Young RC ($2.50)

Career Win Shares: 70.7

Young has only led his team in scoring once in his career when he averaged 17.9 points per game during the 2013-14 season on a 19-win 76ers team. Despite that, he has poured in 14,079 career points over 15 NBA seasons, averaging 12.4 points and 5.7 rebounds as a steady role player. He averaged double-digit points per game for 13 straight seasons prior to the 2021-22 campaign.

The No. 12 pick in the 2007 draft has a staggering 33 different Rookie Cards, most of which can be found for just a couple bucks.

Buy on:

2008-09 Bowman Chrome #134 George Hill RC ($4)

Career Win Shares: 70.6

The Spurs selected Hill with the No. 26 pick in the 2008 draft out of mid-major IUPUI and he quickly emerged as one of the best backup point guards in the league, slotted behind Tony Parker on the depth chart. He was traded to the Pacers after three seasons in the draft-night deal that brought Kawai Leonard to San Antonio, and he has bounced around to play for eight different teams, averaging 10.5 points, 3.1 assists and 3.0 rebounds in 14 seasons.

He has 21 different Rookie Cards, 10 of which have a print run of 599 or fewer, leaving Bowman Chrome ($4) and Topps Chrome ($3) as the most valuable of those that are more readily available.

Buy on:

2008-09 Ultimate Collection #93 Nicolas Batum RC ($8)

Career Win Shares: 66.0

With nine career triple-doubles, Batum could fill up the box score in his prime. He spent the first seven seasons of his career in Portland before he was traded to Charlotte ahead of the 2015-16 season, which ended up being the best of his career as he averaged 14.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 5.8 assists on a team that improved from 33 to 48 wins.

The 6’8″ forward has 10 different Rookie Cards. Only his 2008-09 Exquisite Collection rookie is autographed, so most of his first-year options are affordable like this one from Upper Deck Ultimate Collection.

Buy on:

2004-05 Exquisite Collection #47 Trevor Ariza AU RC ($25)

Career Win Shares: 64.3

With a long 6’8″ frame, good instincts and a reliable three-point shot, Ariza has been the prototypical 3-and-D player throughout his career. The Knicks originally selected him in the second round of the 2004 draft, and he has since played for 10 different teams, averaging 10.4 points on 35.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc while appearing 10 times over an 18-year NBA career.

Despite being a second-round selection, he has 39 different Rookie Cards, all of which can be found for $30 or less. 

Buy on:

2008-09 Upper Deck MVP #206 Danilo Gallinari RC ($2.50)

Career Win Shares: 64.1

Gallinari has had multiple seasons with All-Star caliber production, with his best numbers coming during the 2018-19 season when he averaged 19.8 points, 6.1 rebounds and shot 43.3 percent from beyond the arc for the Clippers. The 34-year-old is now playing for his fifth team in Atlanta and is averaging 11.7 points as one of the team’s top bench scoring options.

His 2008-09 Upper Deck MVP RC is one of a handful of bargain options among Gallinari’s 24 different Rookie Cards. Even his short-printed autograph rookies have a modest book value in the $30-40 range.

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2012-13 Panini Prizm #219 Tobias Harris RC ($30)

Career Win Shares: 62.5

Harris might have the best chance of anyone on this list of still getting over the All-Star Game hump in the coming years. The 6’8″ forward averaged 20.0 points and 7.9 rebounds during the 2018-19 season, and he has averaged at least 15 points per game in each of the last seven seasons. He is also still only 30 years old after being a one-and-done at Tennessee and going No. 18 overall in the 2011 draft.

His Rookie Cards did appear in products until the year after he was drafted, and he was traded from Milwaukee to Orlando midway through his second season. As a result, Harris’ 26 Rookie Cards are an interesting mix of him in Bucks and Magic uniforms.

Buy on:

2006-07 Topps Chrome #184 Rudy Gay RC ($4)

Career Win Shares: 61.0

Gay helped lead UConn to a 30-4 record and a trip to the Elite Eight as a sophomore before going No. 8 overall in the 2006 draft. He has recorded nine different seasons where he has averaged at least 18 points per game, including 20.1 points and 6.2 rebounds as a 21-year-old during his second NBA campaign. The 36-year-old is a role player off the bench for the Jazz these days, but he was a terrific scorer over the course of an underrated prime.

Only 11 of his 31 Rookie Cards come without a serial number, making this the perfect opportunity to sneak a Topps Chrome RC into this collection.

Buy on:

Total: $99

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